Goats have risen to popularity over the last few years. Their mischievous antics and acrobatic feats have won them a place in the hearts of people around the world. They come in all shapes and sizes, which has allowed those without land for a full-scale farm to own these playful creatures.
Wethers (castrated males) are the typical pick for backpacking when it comes to goats, as they’re usually more even-tempered and hygienic than bucks, but don’t discount does! Even a milking doe can become accustomed to a backpack and can provide fresh milk during your adventures, which can be especially good for cooking at your campsite.
Goats typically can carry 25% of their body weight, so even breeds such as the Dwarf Nigerian; can be a helpful companion on your long walks. Just remember to keep health and conditioning in mind as goats unused to carrying packs or those that are overweight, may not be able to handle the exertion.
First and foremost remember that every piece of land belongs to someone. Make sure to check in with each owner, campsite, and State or National Park to make sure pack animals are allowed on the trails. Don’t assume that just because dogs are allowed, goats are too.
Precautions and Tips For the Trail
- Dogs and wildlife can be the biggest threat to your goats, be prepared to fend them off and avoid areas where dogs are frequently off-leash.
- Always have a leash handy, and your goat trained to accept it. You never know when you may need it.
- Bells around the neck will help you keep up with your goats, and may also keep predators at bay.
- Bring plenty of water for you and your animals, along with a container for drinking (can be used for milking as well).
Always remember safety first. Bring along supplies such as first aid kits for your goats and yourself. Should the worse happen, have a plan for emergencies. Most of all have fun. When humans and animals work together, it is an unforgettable experience.